CASA, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, is celebrating "Family Day" Monday, Sept. 24, with a downloadable guide full of recipes, conversation starters, facts, family fun ideas and more. This guide can be found at HYPERLINK "www.CASAFamilyDay.org" www.CASAFamilyDay.org and is geared to encourage spending time together as a family.
Included in this family guide, countdown to being an engaged parent, are 10 fun things to do as a family: Some examples are going bowling, or simple ideas such as looking at funny photos or writing stories about your family. It includes nine facets of parental engagement; being there, have open lines of communication, set a good example, set rules, monitor whereabouts, maintain family rituals (like eating dinner together!), religious and spiritual practices, engage Dad and keep him engaged, engage friends, teachers, classmates, neighbors and community.
Connect with your kids; listen, share, be involved in their lives and activities. Show them you care; tell them you love them! Listen to them, get to know their schedules, friends, teachers, etc. Ask about their day, projects they're working on and their accomplishments.
Talk to your kids about drugs. We talk to them about everything else, don't be afraid! Understand that addiction is a disease of the brain that in almost all cases starts when you drink, smoke or use other drugs in adolescence when your brain is still developing. Help your child feel comfortable discussing drugs and other difficult topics. Peer pressure may play a role in a child's decision to abuse drugs/alcohol. Encourage your child to be their own person and make their own decisions. Be consistent in your rules and make consequences clear.
Teens that have frequent family dinners (5 to 7/week) are four times less likely to use tobacco, alcohol or drugs compared to those that have infrequent family dinners. Eighteen percent of teens say that they would like to spend more time with their families; only 5 percent say they would like to spend less time together.
Good news! A child who reaches the age of 21 without smoking or using/abusing drugs and/or alcohol may never do so. (From the report: The Importance of Family Dinners VII, CASA, September 2011.)
The Right Path, a United Way Agency